Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management,

Salt Lake County, and Utah State Parks:


To have this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day free of charge, visit: http://www.mailermailer.com/x?oid=16351h          

For photos of avalanches and avalanche phenomenon, visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/photos_03-04.htm      (Updated 3/25)

Photos sent in by observers throughout the season visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/obphotos/observer.html      (Updated 3/12)

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm     (Updated 3/27)


Early morning preliminary information by about 6:00 am: 801-364-1591


Avalanche advisory

Saturday, March 27, 2004,   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday, March 27, 2004, and it’s 7:30 a.m.  This forecast is brought to you in partnership with the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, supported in part by Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort.


Current Conditions:

Yesterday’s storm brought winter back to the Wasatch, with snow totals of 1 to 1 ½ feet in the Ogden, Park City and Salt Lake mountains.  The western Uintas and Provo area mountains received up to 10” of snow, and the Logan mountains up to 8”.  Many areas received rain first at the lower elevations, and overall densities ended up at about 10%.  This morning, skies are cloudy, and temperatures are refreshingly cool, generally in the teens.  The westerly winds are light, less than 15 mph, except across the highest peaks, where they are in the 20 to 25 mph range, with gusts to near 40.


Avalanche Conditions:

The new snow was quite sensitive yesterday, especially during intense snowfall when rates of over 3” per hour were common.  Both natural and easily ski cut new snow soft slabs and sluffs occurred on all aspects.  These slides were breaking within the new snow, but once they got moving, some would step down to the crust, collecting quite a bit of snow and running far, with some debris piles 2 to 4’ deep.  The most activity was reported from below 8000’ in the Ogden area mountains, where heavy rain fell before turning to snow.  Conditions may have been similar in the Provo area mountains, but we have no new observations. 


Today, most of these new snow instabilities will have settled out, and it will take a wind drifted or a very steep slope to get the snow moving.  But the hidden danger is if you do get the snow moving, it will most likely go to the crust, collect snow all the way down the track, resulting in a larger, longer running slide.  There are two other big “ifs” to today’s mostly stable snow – wind and sun.  There are some sensitive winds drifts along the highest ridges and peaks, and if winds increase any time today, they will quickly form sensitive drifts.  Also, if there is any direct sun or even thin clouds, the cold, new snow will rapidly heat, swiftly producing damp sluffs on steep slopes.  At the lower elevations, it may still be possible to trigger sluffs into the old, warm sloppy snow in shallow areas.


Bottom Line for the Salt Lake, Park CITY, Provo, and ogden AREA MOUNTAINS:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, especially with any recent wind drifts.  On slopes less steep than about 35 degrees, the avalanche danger is LOW.  If there is any increase in wind speeds or heating from the sun where you are, the danger may rise to CONSIDERABLE on and below steep slopes.


Uinta Mountains:  For Uinta specific information, click on Western Uintas on the advisory page or phone 1-800-648-7433.

Logan: click HERE or call 435-797-4146


Mountain Weather:

A weak weather disturbance will cross northern Utah today, bringing mostly cloudy skies with light snow showers adding another inch or two.  Winds will be from the west to northwest, and be in the 10 to 15 mph range this morning.  Winds may increase into the 20 to 25 mph range this afternoon.  Highs will be near 30 at 8,000’ and in the upper teens at 10,000’.  High pressure will start to build in tonight, and remain in place through midweek.  Tonight, there will be a few lingering snow showers early, with skies clearing by morning.  Low temperatures will be in the mid teens.   Partly cloudy skies on Sunday and warmer, with light northerly winds.  We’ll be back to hot, sunny weather by Monday.


For specific digital forecasts for the Salt Lake, Provo or Ogden mountains, CLICK HERE.


General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday and if they can fly today they will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Mineral, Grizzly, Alexander, Porter, and White Pine.


If you are getting into the backcountry, please give us a call and let us know what you’re seeing, especially if you trigger an avalanche.  You can leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140.  Or you can e-mail an observation to [email protected] .org, or you can fax an observation to 801-524-6301.


The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.  This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. 


I will update this advisory Sunday morning.


Thanks for calling.